By Ronald Musoke
The World Bank director of human development for the Africa region, Ritva Reinikka, has stressed the importance of Uganda and her peers in Africa to put an equal emphasis on human capital development just like they have been doing with infrastructure if they are to transition to the next level.
“Infrastructure (development) is really important but also human capital is equally important.
“There must be complimentability between infrastructure and human development,” Reinikka said, further adding that infrastructure development needs to go hand in hand with human capital because this eventually helps to multiply the positive impacts of infrastructure in the long run.
Reinikka who has been in Uganda to dialogue with the government as well as check on the progress of key projects that the World Bank is currently funding in Uganda had an interactive session with the media at the World Bank Country Office in Kampala on Nov 1 where she talked about a range of issues including jobs, youth unemployment, the poor quality of education that most countries on the continent are currently grappling with.
She noted that just like Uganda, Africa’s economy has been growing over the last decade at a rate of over six per cent and the continent is poised to grow even more especially with oil, gas and mineral discoveries across the continent with about 50 out of 54 countries across Africa currently involved in production or exploring for the resources.
However, Reinikka said this presents both great promise and danger because research has shown that so many mineral-resource countries have succumbed to the so-called resource curse, adding that despite their enormous wealth, these same countries have the lowest human development indicators.
She said the great opportunity will be for these resource rich countries to use their wealth to develop their human capital in order to register inclusive growth.